The desire for a perfect smile can be traced back to ancient Egypt. Even back in 1600 BC, Egyptians were a form of orthodontic around their teeth made from animal intestines to realign their teeth. This desire is strong even today, with a whopping 33% of the world’s population having undergone an orthodontic treatment at some point in their life. For Singaporeans who are interested in getting braces, it’s important to know what options are available, how much they can cost, and how they can be financed. To help them understand these issues, we have prepared this guide below.
While the average cost for braces is S$3,500 to S$6,000, we've seen some clinics offering as little as S$2,000 or as much as S$11,000. Because orthodontic treatment is highly personalized, prices can vary depending on the orthodontist and the patient. Your age, hospital, insurance and type of braces can change your final bill. Below, we show average cost of braces in Singapore and assess each key factor that influences this cost.
|Non-Subsidised Fee for Braces|
According to the Ministry of Health, it is generally cheaper to get your braces done at a public institution than at a private dental clinic. On average, an orthodontic treatment at a public clinic will cost you about S$4,000, while the same treatment will cost you on average of S$5,500 at a private clinic. This compares with an average cost of S$3,000 to S$6,000 in the US. While public institutiosn offer cheaper service, waitlists at these government hospitals can be as long as 2 years. If you can afford the waiting time, they might be a great idea. However, if you want to have beautiful smiles as soon as possible, a private clinic could provide quicker service with more attention. Also, we’ve also seen dental clinics in Singapore that offer as low as S$1,300 for braces. Costs can depend heavily on how intensive your treatment needs to be, so you should always consult a few specialist and shop around for the best offer.
The total cost of treatment chiefly depends on the specific type of braces you select. There are four main types: metal, ceramic, lingual and Invisalign. Here, we assess costs, pros and cons of each on. If you are fortunate enough to have a full range of choices, you should aim to find a balance between cosmetic value and speedy treatment. Cheaper methods tend to be more visible and aesthetically displeasing, but they also align your teeth more quickly. Also, you should remember that longer treatments will cost you more because monthly appointments represent a significant portion of your final bill.
Average Cost of Metal Braces
Metal is the most basic and common type of braces. They are also the cheapest orthodontic treatment available. The typically cost S$3,500 to S$6,000 as we mentioned above. The advantages of choosing metal braces are that they are cheap and offer fast alignment of teeth. The disadvantage, however, is that they are aesthetically unappealing. Because metals and wires are highly visible on the outer rim of your teeth, they can ruin your smiles for a good 2 years. Also, they can catch the inside of your mouth quite often, leading to frequent ulcers.
Average Cost of Ceramic Braces
Ceramic braces attempt to remedy the aesthetic weakness of metal braces by using brackets that are colored to blend with teeth. Instead of gluing metals to your teeth, they use ceramic materials that are aesthetically more pleasing and less obvious. The downside, however, is that these can cost you another S$1,000 or more than metal braces. Not only that, ceramic brackets are more brittle than metal and also tend to stain noticeably without proper care. Some people also do a hybrid of metal and ceramic by using ceramic on the more visible top half and metal on the bottom row of their teeth, which could result in a lot of savings.
Average Cost of Lingual Braces
The benefits of lingual braces are obvious: because they are installed behind the teeth, they are hidden from view altogether. The downside of this type is that they are even costlier than ceramic braces because of how hard they are to install and adjust. You could expect to pay S$10,000 or more for these types of braces. Not only that, they reduce the space in your mouth for your tongue significantly, can lead to great discomfort.
Average Cost of Invisalign
Invisalign eliminates brackets altogether in favor of clear plastic molds that fit over the teeth. This is by far the most aesthetically pleasing option because they are invisible and also comfortable. Patients wear each mold for a set time and swap to the next, slightly straighter mold as the teeth align over time. Invisalign can also be removed and replaced by the patient, making it the most comfortable option. Not only that, Invisalign treatments require a visit to your clinic every 2-3 months, and thus reduces the number of visits to the doctor.Of course, these added benefits come with a high price tag that ranges between S$8,000 to S$11,000. Furthermore, wearing Invisalign may not be possible in cases of severe misalignment. Therefore, Invisalign is only available for patients with relative mild misalignment, and hence take about 12-18 months on average to complete.
Average Duration of Braces
Most braces are worn for an average of 24 months. The length of time you wear your braces depends not only on the kind you choose, but also on how intensive your orthodontic treatment needs to be. You also need to consider that you have and how well you support your treatment with good habits. While there isn’t much you can do about the position of your teeth before braces, the progress you make during the process depends on your active participation.
Many patients who pay more than average for braces do so because of preventable issues like broken brackets and slow alignment. Avoiding foods that will shatter or adhere to your braces is important to ensure that you don’t add to your material and appointment costs. Rigorous oral hygiene is also necessary to keeping the braces clean and well-maintained.
Finally, some treatments like Invisalign can be taken off entirely, although they must be worn for as long as 22 hours each day for proper alignment to occur. It’s up to you to keep track of how often you take off such braces.
How Age Affects the Cost of Braces
Almost 50% of patients who wear braces in Singapore are adults. For adults who are considering getting braces to fix their smiles, they should budget knowing that average cost of treatment for adults is higher than it is for children. However, the difference is very small, somewhere between S$100 to S$200 in most cases.
Because braces are often considered a cosmetic procedure, not many dental insurance plans cover orthodontic treatments, especially the “premium” treatments like Invisalign. Sometimes, the misalignment of a patient’s teeth is severe enough to cause health issues, such as jaw pain, grinding of teeth, tooth decay or gum disease. In such cases, a dentist’s assessment could determine that braces qualify for coverage as a medically necessary procedure, even if your dental plan does not include orthodontics. For most people, however, braces are not covered by insurance. Therefore, it is important to consider what you are willing to spend on braces, and how to finance the procedure.
In general, you will end up paying roughly half of the cost on your first visit, and subsequently pay additional fees for each of your follow up visits. This means that the upfront cost alone could be somewhere between S$2,000 and S$6,000. If this is not easily affordable but you are determined to get braces, you could consider getting a personal loan from a bank. Banks can offer thousands of dollars at 12-15% effective interest rates that you can pay down over 1 to 5 years. Monthly payments are fixed and are relatively easy to manage, as long as you make sure to borrow the amount that your monthly budget can handle.
Also, rewards credit cards in Singapore offer some of the biggest award rates in the world, and you could save 5% or more of your cost by using your credit cards intelligently. For instance, UOB One Card is one of the best cashback credit cards in Singapore that offers a flat 5% cash rebate on all of your purchases as long as you maintain a monthly expenditure of S$2,000. With frequent visits to dental clinics that you make every month, UOB One card is an ideal card to use to pay for your braces.
Even when you are done with your orthodontic treatment, you must remember to wear your retainers for another 6 to 12 months. Your teeth can move even after your braces are removed, so retainers help to keep them in place. If you forget to do this, the investment of money and pain you would have made for 2 years would be all for naught, as your teeth can go back into misalignment.